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Calcium, vitamin D supplementation improves cholesterol in postmenopausal women

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: calcium, vitamin D, cholesterol levels

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(NaturalNews) Maintaining high blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), which is said to be the most accurate indicator of vitamin D levels inside the body, appears to play a prominent role in mitigating inflammation and keeping cholesterol in check. Researchers from the Women's Health Initiative, publishing their findings in the online journal Menopause, found that postmenopausal women with the highest vitamin D levels fared the best in terms of cholesterol levels, suggesting that vitamin D could help prevent cardiovascular events.

Led by Peter F. Schnatz, D.O., N.C.M.P., a member of the North American Menopause Society's (NAMS) Board of Trustees, the research team looked at the effects of supplementation with vitamin D3 and a calcium supplement in about 600 elderly women. Some of the women received a daily supplement containing 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium and 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D3, while the other women received a placebo containing neither of these two nutrients.

The women were instructed to take the pills daily, and researchers evaluated blood levels of 25(OH)D throughout the course of the study. Based on the assumption that at least 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) of 25(OH)D is considered normal and healthy, the researchers compared cholesterol levels among the two groups of women both at the beginning of the study and at its conclusion, looking for any variances.

What they found was that women taking the real supplement experienced a reduction in low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, the type of cholesterol commonly referred to as "bad" cholesterol. Based on the data, women in this group experienced an LDL drop between four and five points, on average. At the same time, women in the real supplement group also experienced an increase in high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, the type of cholesterol considered to be "good."

Another benefit of supplementation with vitamin D3 and calcium was decreased levels of triglycerides, a type of blood lipid that, in excess, has been associated with coronary heart disease, particularly in women. High triglyceride levels can result from heavy consumption of unhealthy vegetable oils such as soy and canola oil, both of which are highly inflammatory.

"The results of this study should inspire even more women to be conscientious about their calcium and vitamin D intake--a simple and safe way to improve health," said Dr. Margery Gass, Executive Director of NAMS. "One action can lead to multiple benefits!"

Vitamin D levels higher in women who don't smoke, drink alcohol

Besides supplementation, avoiding cigarettes and drinking little or no alcohol was also found to be beneficial in maintaining high vitamin D levels. The researchers found that women who maintained clean lifestyle habits free of these common vices experienced the most pronounced benefits from supplementation with vitamin D and calcium.

"Supplemental CaD [calcium and vitamin D] significantly increases 25OHD3 concentrations and decreases LDL-cholesterol," added the team. "Women with higher 25OHD3 concentrations have more favourable lipid profiles, including increased HDL- cholesterol, lower LDL- cholesterol, and lower fasting plasma triglycerides."

Further details about the study can be accessed at the following link:

You can also learn more about the many health benefits of vitamin D in promoting health and both preventing and curing disease by visiting the Vitamin D Council:

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